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Browsing Posts tagged Danny Rosenbaum

By Scott Barancik, editor

As baseball fans celebrate Opening Day, Jewish Baseball News is taking a look back at the 21 Jews who participated in MLB Spring Training this year.

Fifteen position players and six pitchers saw playing time, some as full-fledged team members, others as non-roster invitees, and several via short-term stints. Their stats are shown at the bottom; players who made their franchise’s Opening Day roster are shown in bold.

Following are some of the Spring’s top stories.

  • It will take a lot more for him to earn back some fans’ trust and affection, but Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun — fresh from a 65-game suspension for taking performance-enhancing drugs — dazzled, hitting .417 with nine RBIs and eight extra-base hits in 36 at-bats.
  • Ike Davis and Josh Satin both made the Mets’ Opening Day roster and will share First Base duties with Lucas Duda. But Davis — who squeaked by with a .241 average in Spring Training — is among the candidates to be sent down later this week to make room for Jon Niese.
  • Nate Freiman‘s 11 RBIs ranked eighth on the A’s, but it wasn’t enough to make the team’s Opening Day roster. Meanwhile, teammate Sam Fuld wowed his way onto the roster with four triples, 7 RBIs and a .348 on-base percentage.
  • With Boston’s Craig Breslow starting the season on the disabled list, Scott Feldman is the only Jewish pitcher to make an Opening Day roster. He also was the only Jewish starter during spring Training. As a group, Jewish pitchers went 1-and-5.
  • After missing much of the past three seasons with surgeries and injuries, former Boston Red Sox OF Ryan Kalish earned a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. Kalish hit .304 with 3 RBIs, stole 6 of 7 bases, and reached base 38.5% of the time.
  • Texas prospect Aaron Poreda earned some respect in his first MLB Spring Training since 2011. Poreda claimed one save in two chances, held opposing hitters to a .265 average, and walked just one batter over 8.1 innings.
  • Ian Kinsler, traded by Texas during the off-season for Detroit’s Cecil Fielder, outperformed “Big Daddy” with 3 HRs, 9 extra-based hits, 9 RBIs, a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases, a .300 average, and a .382 on-base percentage. Fielder matched Kinsler’s power (3 HRs, 9 extra-base hits, 10 RBIs) but hit .246 while striking out 16 times and drawing only two walks.
  • Ben Guez, a 27-year-old outfielder who spent part of the last four seasons with Detroit’s Triple-A club but has yet to be called up, made a brief but exciting splash in three Spring Training games. Against Toronto on 3/18/2014, Guez reached base all six times, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and three walks. His career MLB Spring Training average is a robust .529, along with a .692 on-base percentage.

 MLB Spring Training hitting, 2014

Team AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB AVG OBP
Zach Borenstein LAA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NA 1.000
Ryan Braun MIL 36 15 5 0 3 9 0 .417 .500
Ike Davis NYM 29 7 2 0 2 7 0 .241 .313
Cody Decker SDP 10 3 1 0 1 4 0 .300 .417
Nate Freiman OAK 42 10 2 1 1 11 0 .238 .327
Sam Fuld OAK 59 16 1 4 1 7 1-1 .271 .348
Ben Guez DET 7 5 2 0 0 2 0-1 .714 .818
Ryan Kalish CHC 46 14 1 0 0 3 6-7 .304 .385
Ian Kinsler DET 60 18 5 1 3 9 4-4 .300 .382
Ryan Lavarnway BOS 38 11 1 0 2 5 0 .289 .357
Jake Lemmerman SDP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .500
Joc Pederson LAD 38 7 1 0 3 6 0 .184 .311
Kevin Pillar TOR 33 5 1 1 0 4 0-1 .152 .176
Josh Satin NYM 50 13 2 0 1 4 0 .260 .333
Danny Valencia KCR 48 11 1 0 1 4 1-1 .229 .327

Notes: Zach Borenstein walked in his only plate appearance

MLB Spring Training pitching, 2014

Team W L ERA G IP H BB SO AVG WHIP
Jeremy Bleich NYY 0 0 9.00 1 1.0 2 0 0 .500 2.00
Scott Feldman HOU 0 2 5.40 4 16.2 21 2 14 .292 1.38
Aaron Poreda TEX 0 1 3.24 8 8.1 9 1 8 .265 1.20
Danny Rosenbaum WAS 0 1 2.70 3 3.1 3 2 2 .300 1.50
Jeff Urlaub OAK 1 1 8.10 4 3.1 4 2 1 .333 1.80
Josh Zeid HOU 0 0 4.15 7 8.2 12 4 12 .333 1.85

Notes: Aaron Poreda earned one save in two chances; Josh Zeid earned a save in his sole opportunity. Boston’s Craig Breslow did not play, due to injury

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Here are highlights from minor-league games played on Monday, April 8:

  • Toronto Blue Jays prospect Kevin Pillar, the 2012 Midwest League MVP, went 1/4 with a single, two walks, one RBI and a run scored (box score). Pillar plays for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin extended his torrid April pace, going 3/4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored (box score). Satin, who plays for the Las Vegas 51s (AAA), is hitting .476 with one HR, two doubles, and 4 RBIs in 21 at-bats.
  • San Diego Padres prospect Maxx Tissenbaum didn’t get any hits, but he didn’t get any outs, either. Playing for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps (A), Tissenbaum walked four times and scored once (box score).
  • St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker still hasn’t allowed a run this season. In his third relief appearance for the Peoria Chiefs (A), Baker gave up two singles over two innings while striking out four and walking none (box score).
  • Danny Rosenbaum‘s first Triple-A start was a success. The Washington Nationals prospect pitched five shutout innings for the Syracuse Chiefs, yielding 4 singles and 2 walks while striking out two (box score).

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

With the regular season now underway, we’re taking a quick look back at how Jewish players performed in spring training.

The sheer number who played was impressive: a total of at least 24 Jews — 18 position players and six pitchers — got on the field for at least one MLB game this spring.

BATTING

Collectively,  position players hit .255 with 14 HRs and 64 RBIs in 384 at-bats (see table below). Several stood out:

  • Kevin Youkilis had an eye-popping debut with the New York Yankees. He led all Jewish players (as well as all Yankees) with 6 HRs, 6 doubles and 14 RBIs in just 50 at-bats, along with an .800 slugging percentage and a 1.139 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin made the most of his 16 plate appearances, cobbling together 3 singles, 2 doubles, 5 walks, and 3 RBIs to amass a .455 batting average and .647 on-base percentage.
  • Ike Davis, another Met, showed great poise at the plate, hitting .327 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, and 4 RBIs. Davis’s 9 walks boosted his on-base percentage to a healthy .431.
  • Danny Valencia lost his fight for a spot on the Baltimore Orioles’ opening-day roster but made a good impression on his new team, hitting .323 with 1 HR, 4 RBIs, and a .417 on-base percentage.
  • Maxx Tissenbaum, a 21-year-old San Diego Padres prospect with one minor-league season under his belt, knocked in 3 runs in just 4 at-bats.
  • St. Louis Cardinals prospect Adam Ehrlich walked in both of his plate appearances, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler singled in his only appearance of the spring, and San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker went 3-for-6 with a double.

Final hitting stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

 
TEAM
G
AB
H
HR
RBI
AVG
OBP
Ryan BraunMIL1023636.261.357
Charlie CutlerSTL111001.0001.000
Ike DavisNYM21551815.327.431
Cody DeckerSD26300.500.500
Adam EhrlichSTL30000-1.000
Nate Freiman*HOU/OAK25541319.241.268
Sam FuldTB820514.250.286
Adam GreenbergBAL21000.000.000
Ben GuezDET11000.000.000
Ian KinslerTEX24631419.222.292
Ryan LavarnwayBOS1644606.136.188
Jake LemmermanSTL11000.000.000
Joc PedersonLAD710101.100.182
Kevin PillarTOR79100.111.111
Josh SatinNYM1211503.455.647
Maxx TissenbaumSD44103.250.400
Danny ValenciaBAL17311014.323.417
Kevin YoukilisNYY185014614.280.339
* Now with Oakland A's
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

 

PITCHING

Among the six Jewish pitchers who played in at least one spring training game (see below), these ones stood out:

  • Houston Astros prospect Josh Zeid went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six relief appearances, held opposing players to a .235 batting average, and drew 3.33 times as many groundouts as flyouts.
  • San Diego Padres veteran Jason Marquis went 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts and held opponents to a .239 batting average.
  • Toronto Blue Jays prospect Michael Schwimer earned a 3.00 ERA in three relief appearances and limited opposing teams to a .182 batting average.
  • Scott Feldman stood out for less desirable reasons. The newly-minted Chicago Cub went 0-3 with an 11.25 ERA, gave up nearly 2 hits per inning, yielded 7 HRs, and got lit up by opposing batters to the tune of a .396 average.

Final pitching stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

 
 
TEAM
W
L
ERA
G
IP
H
BB
SO
1Jeremy BleichNYY000.0010.1000
2Scott FeldmanCHC0311.25620.038617
3Jason MarquisSD113.74621.2211515
4Danny Rosenbaum*COL214.5068.0930
5Michael SchwimerTOR003.0033.0224
6Josh ZeidHOU101.5066.0442
* Now with Washington Nationals
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

It’s been a busy off-season so far for Jewish ballplayers.

The Boston Red Sox recently dealt 3B Danny Valencia to the Baltimore Orioles for cash. Though the 28-year-old Valencia had a tough 2012 season with the Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and their respective AAA teams, the Orioles reportedly are interested in using him against left-handed pitchers, against whom he has a career MLB batting average of .316.

The Chicago Cubs signed free agent Scott Feldman to a one-year, $6-million deal. Chicago plans to add the 6-foot-6-inch, 29-year-old southpaw to its starting rotation. Feldman had been with the Texas Rangers since the franchise drafted him in 2005.

Earlier this week, the New York Yankees offered 3B Kevin Youkilis a one-year, $12-million contract. Acquired midseason in 2012 by the Chicago White Sox, the 33-year-old infielder spent years as a Yankee killer while starring for the rival Boston Red Sox. No word yet on whether he will accept the offer.

The Colorado Rockies stole pitching prospect Danny Rosenbaum from the Washington Nationals, which had left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. The third overall pick in that draft, Rosenbaum spent 2012 with the Harrisburg Senators (AA), where he went a disappointing 8-10 with a 3.94 ERA. The 25-year-old lefty had posted ERAs of 1.95, 2.25, and 2.52 from 2009-11.

Also taken in the Rule 5 draft was former San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman, A 6’7″ slugger who led the Texas League in RBIs in 2012 and starred for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, Freiman was nabbed by the Houston Astros.

Under draft rules, the Rockies and Astros must keep Rosenbaum and Freiman on their respective Major League rosters for the entire 2013 season. If they don’t, they must offer the players back to their former teams for a trivial cash sum. Thus there’s a decent chance both players will make their MLB debut sometime in 2013.

Jewish Baseball News wishes to thank contributing writer Zev Ben Avigdor and TheGreatRabbino.com‘s Jeremy Fine for keeping us posted on player transactions.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Fear not: there is still some good news in the world:

  • Sam Fuld‘s heroic fielding and hustle have earned him the nickname “Super Sam,” but Tampa Bay Rays fans may just want to call him “Sparkplug.” Though a wrist injury kept Fuld off the field this season until July 24, the club has gone 18-and-7 since his return. The 30-year-old utility outfielder’s impact was never more clear than on Saturday (8/18/2012). The Rays were down 8-0 to the Los Angeles Angels when Fuld singled in his team’s first run, launching a 7-run inning that ultimately propelled the Rays to an improbable 10-8 win.
  • Detroit Tigers prospect Ben Guez continues to enjoy a breakout year with the club’s AA and AAA teams. The diminutive outfielder — he is listed at 5’10” and 180 pounds, about the same size as Sam Fuld — is hitting a combined .300 with 8 HRs, 5 triples, 42 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and a preposterously high .423 on-base percentage. He has spent roughly three-quarters of the season with the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA).
  • Two of the N.L.’s top home-run hitters are Jewish. Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun, the reigning N.L. MVP, hit four dingers over a 3-game stretch last week and leads the league with 33 overall. New York Mets 1B Ike Davis has hit a career-high 22 HRs, good enough for 12th place.
  • Not to be outdone are San Diego Padres prospects Nate Freiman and Cody Decker. Teammates on the San Antonio Missions (AA), the pair rank 4th and 5th among all double-A players in home runs, with 23 and 22 respectively. Decker had an additional 5 HRs with the Padres’ AAA team, giving him 27 overall. Freiman, a 6’7″ first baseman, is hitting .298 and leads all AA players with 98 RBIs8.
  • Craig Breslow made the most of his two-pitch appearance Saturday (8/18/2012). The Boston Red Sox reliever entered the game with one out in the 8th inning, a 3-1 lead, a man on first base, and New York Yankees 2B Robinson Cano at the plate. Breslow’s second pitch, a cutter, lured Cano into an inning-ending double play, but what caught the eye of many observers was his batterymate: catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Several Jewish Baseball News readers, including Jerome Deutsch, noted the rarity of this all-Jewish battery. (Yes, it has happened before.) But even rarer was the fact that both men attended Yale University. According to the Yale Daily News, Breslow (Class of 2002) and Lavarnway (Class of 2009) were the first Yale batterymates since 1883. Said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the game: “I got a lot smarter having them out there.”
  • We’re only a month away from Team Israel’s appearance at the World Baseball Classic qualifying round in Jupiter, Fla. Among those scheduled to play in the team’s September 19 opener against South Africa are player-coaches Shawn Green (ranked second among Jewish major-leaguers in career HRs), former MLB’er Gabe Kapler, a variety of of other current and ex-pros, and a handful of Israelis. Click here for tickets.
  • Joc Pederson is on a roll. Ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, the 20-year-old son of former major-leaguer Stu Pederson is batting .400 over his past 10 games with 5 HRs, 4 doubles, 11 RBIs, 3 walks, and 2 stolen bases. An outfielder with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced), Pederson is hitting .313 this season with 17 HRs, 59 RBIs, 22 stolen bases, a .397 on-base percentage, and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .918.
  • Danny Rosenbaum is the Jekyll & Hyde of 2012. After starting the year 5-0 with an 0.71 ERA and just four walks for the Harrisonburg Senators (AA), there was talk the Washington Nationals might call-up the 6’1″ lefty in September. (See Rosenbaum’s May 2012 interview with Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor.) But when his go-to catcher Sandy Leon was called-up to the majors, everything seemed to fall apart, and today the 24-year-old’s record is a less stellar 8-and-9 with a 3.73 ERA. On Saturday (8/18/2012), though, it looked like the ‘old’ Rosenbaum had returned. Danny pitched 7 shutout innings in a 2-1 win over the Erie SeaWolves, giving up just five hits and one walk.

Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Danny Rosenbaum (MiLB.com)

By Zev Ben Avigdor/Jewish Baseball News

More than 50 Jews currently play Major- or minor-league ball, but few are generating more raves this season than award-winning Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum.

The 24-year-old hurler is putting up ridiculous numbers for the Harrisburg Senators (AA), compiling a 5-0 record, league-leading 0.71 ERA, 33 strikeouts, and just 4 walks. There’s talk the Nats may call him up during their September roster expansion, pending a solid performance with the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA).

Not bad for a guy from Loveland, OH, who was the 652nd pick in the 2009 draft — a mere 651 places behind fellow Nationals draftee Stephen Strasburg — and began the 2012 season ranked #23 on Baseball America’s list of Nationals prospects.

Rosenbaum is poised off-field as well as on. During a visit earlier this month to Binghamton, N.Y., home of the New York Mets’ AA franchise, the 6’1″ left-hander juggled attention from out-of-town family members, questions from an 8-year-old Jewish fan — including the first three you’ll see below — and still more queries from Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor. An edited transcript follows.

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What do you like about being Jewish?

I get asked that a lot. I like the traditions that everyone holds and that we get to celebrate with our families. It’s a very family-oriented religion, and it’s always great to see family like that come in, come watch me play, and just get to be together. I’d say that’s the biggest thing. And also it’s a small group of guys that are playing, and getting to be a role model for little leaguers and young kids. It’s a blessing to feel like that.

What is your favorite holiday?

It used to be Chanukah, when I appreciated presents a lot. But now? I always liked Passover. All the food you get to eat. We always had our family over for Passover every year, and my parents make pretty good food — pretty good matzoh ball soup — and my grandma cooks real well, too. So probably Passover. [During Pesach] I try to watch the yeast stuff and just try not to eat a lot of bread. And I call my family and wish I could be there. It’s tough not being back with them, celebrating it with them.

And who is your favorite baseball player?

I’d have to say, I guess, Sandy Koufax is my favorite Jewish baseball player. He’s always been a role model for me and for a lot of Jewish kids out of Cincinnati. [Note: Rosenbaum grew up in a Cincinnati suburb and played two seasons at Cincinnati’s Xavier University. Koufax went to the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship.] He’s just that huge public figure…Everyone wants to [emulate] what he did and what he did for the game of baseball. My favorite player growing up—like everyone else—was Ken Griffey, Jr.

What would you like the readers of Jewish Baseball News to know about you?

I guess to say I’m getting married this fall, back in Cincinnati. I actually knew her in middle school, but we didn’t start dating until my senior year in high school. My freshman year I went to Indiana, and she went to Morehead State, which is in Kentucky, and I transferred after my freshman year [to Xavier University]. We did the whole long distance thing for five years, six years, and now we’re [still] doing long distance. She’s working back home. It’s tough. It’s a tough lifestyle, but we made a commitment, and we’re ready to be together forever.

You mentioned Jewish kids. Do you get much chance to work with them directly?

Not during the season. During the off-season I did. I went to help out the JCC. I gave lessons out of there. While I was there we volunteered to help out the Orthodox Jewish kids there and made them a little bit better. There’s not a whole lot of them, but it was fun to be a part of it and to learn what their lifestyle is like, because I’ve never really been associated with Orthodox Jews before. So it was pretty cool. It was fun.

Has anywhere you’ve ever played done a Jewish Heritage Night?

I don’t think so. Just that one time we had the Jewish camp that came to our game in Hagerstown. That’s probably the closest we came to that. It’s pretty exciting knowing that you have a whole group of kids that are behind you the whole way. Even though I’m not playing, they’re still cheering for me, so it’s just a good feeling to have.

And finally a baseball question: How do you do it? You don’t have an overpowering 98 mph fastball, but you just seem to get people out.

I just try to stay even-keeled the whole way. It’s like my parents said, ‘Don’t make the highs too high and the lows too low.’ Just go out and battle. Be a competitor. That’s what our manager wants to see and our pitching coach and our organization. That’s all I try to do, is just give my team a chance to win.

(Editor’s note: “Zev Ben Avigdor” is the pen name of a university scholar who writes for Jewish Baseball News. Click here to see more of his interviews.)

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Mondays blow. So inhale this:

  1. Hungering for more Jewish ballplayers? Jewish Sports Review recently uncovered two: Toronto Blue Jays prospect Ian Kadish, and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jared Lakind. Kadish, a 23-year-old reliever, debuted last year with the Bluefield Blue Jays (Rookie), going 2-3 with a 2.67 ERA, 7 saves, and 35 strikeouts in 30-and-one-third innings. Lakind, a 20-year-old first baseman, showed impressive run-production last year, contributing 4 HRs and 20 RBIs in just 108 at-bats for the GCL Pirates (Rookie), although his .148 batting average and 43 strikeouts left plenty of room for improvement.
  2. Kevin Youkilis, out since April 28, took batting practice and fielded ground balls Sunday (5/13/2012) for the first time since straining his lower back. We hope Youk returns to the Boston Red Sox lineup soon.
  3. Chicago White Sox reliever Dylan Axelrod is a practicing Christian. Why mention him? Because Axelrod, who made his Major League debut last month, is one of several current Major Leaguers who have at least one Jewish parent or grandparent — and thus may be eligible to play for Team Israel in the November 2012 qualifying round for the World Baseball Classic. Among others, Axelrod is joined by Cleveland Indians 2B (and Rookie of the Year candidate) Jason Kipnis, and Arizona Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt, each of whom has a Jewish parent but identifies as Christian.
  4. Harrisburg Senators (AA) phenom Danny Rosenbaum turned in yet another stellar start on Friday (5/11/2012), pitching 7 scoreless innings in an 8-1 win over the Akron Aeros. A wizard at inducing ground balls, the 24-year-old Washington Nationals caused the Aeros to hit 11 times as many grounders as they did fly balls. So far this season, Rosenbaum is 5-0 with two complete games, a league-leading 0.71 ERA, 33 strikeouts, and just four walks in 50-and-2/3 innings, or less than one per 9 innings.
  5. In Milwaukee, Brewers 1B Ryan Braun is known not only as a star baseball player but an emerging restaurateur. His latest opening, a joint venture with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be called 8*twelve MVP Bar & Grill. The name is a nod to the two stars’ jersey numbers — Braun’s is ‘8’ –and the fact that each is his sport’s reigning MVP.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Mondays bite. So feed yourself something pleasing:

  1. Add this name to our ever-growing list of players: Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson. Drafted out of high school in 2010, the 20-year-old outfielder wowed the rookie Pioneer League last year by batting .353 with 11 HRs, 64 RBIs, 24 stolen bases, and a .997 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) in only 266 at-bats. Now with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (High-A), Pederson is hitting .253 with 1 RBI in 31 at-bats this season. A tip of the cap to Ephraim Moxson for verifying Pederson’s lineage.
  2. Aric Weinberg, whose mother hails from Tel Aviv and whose father is a former ESPN and New York Times sports reporter, signed a contract with the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association, an independent league. The 26-year-old outfielder is assistant coach of the Tarbut V’Torah baseball team in Irvine, Calif., which went 11-2 last season.
  3. Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum continued his extraordinary season with a 2-1, complete-game victory on Saturday (5/5/2012), facing just two batters over the minimum 27. A 24-year-old starter with the Harrisonburg Senators (AA), Rosenbaum saw his 28-inning scoreless streak end during the 6th inning, but you’d hardly know it by looking at his 0.81 ERA, 4-0 record, and strikeout/walk ratio of 27/3. Local news media variously described Rosenbaum’s Saturday performance as “sparkling,” “outstanding,” and “dominant.”
  4. Leadoff hitter extraordinaire Ian Kinsler has scored 28 runs in the Texas Rangers’ first 28 games this season, putting him on pace for 162 if he remains injury-free. The only player since 1939 to reach that plateau is Manny Ramirez, who scored 165 with the Cleveland Indians in 1999.
  5. San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman continues to dominate Double-A pitching in his first season at that level. The San Antonio Missions first baseman is hitting .313 (5th-highest in the Texas League) with 11 HRs (1st), 26 RBIs (2nd), and a 1.032 OPS (3rd/tie) in 115 at-bats.
  6. Baseball America’s most recent Prospect Hot Sheet listed two Jewish players among last week’s hottest 13: Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum (see above), and Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Jake Lemmerman, a 23-year-old shortstop who is hitting .316 with the Chattanooga Lookouts (AA). The same Hot Sheet described 6’7″ Padres prospect Nate Freiman (see above) as “monstrous” and a “man among boys.” Both Lemmerman and Freiman are Duke University alums.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

My 8-year-old says Mondays are among her favorite days of the week because she has ‘running club’ after school. For the rest of humanity, Mondays can be hellish. May these tidbits make your day a little easier:

  1. Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum recently was named the Eastern League’s player of the week, and it’s no surprise why. Although the 24-year-old Harrisburg Senators (AA) starter barely registers a blip on Baseball America’s list of top Nationals prospects, he’s 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA and two shutouts this season and has struck out 18 batters while walking just two. Rosenbaum is adept at getting players to ground out. When he blanked the Altoona Curve last week, a local newspaper said Curve batters spent more time in the sand than former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. If he continues to excel — Jewish Baseball News named him its top minor-league starter last year — Rosenbaum could be called-up to the Majors this September. Said Washington Nationals director of player development Doug Harris to the Washington Post: “We think he’s a major-league pitcher, without a doubt.”
  2. In baseball, pitchers have a reputation for being introspective thinkers, engineers of their own mechanics. But Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer takes the cake. In an interview with FanGraphs — the chosen website for those who prefer here.
  3. Not every Jewish player is so left-brained. Baltimore Orioles prospect Tyler Kolodny is known more for turning a wet tarp into a slip-and-slide, doing full splits to snare balls tossed in the dirt, and cutting-up for his teammates. See the full story here.
  4. San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman is on another power-trip this season. After hitting 22 HRs and driving in 111 runs last year — good enough to earn him an honorable mention in Jewish Baseball News’ most valuable minor-league player award — the 6’7″ first baseman was moved up to AA ball, where he continues to batter the rawhide. Freiman leads the Texas League with 9 HRs and ranks 3rd in RBIs (18), eighth in batting average (.313), and 13th in slugging percentage (.699).
  5. Also excelling early in 2012 is Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Jack Marder. Now in his second season with the High Desert Mavericks (High-A), he ranks 4th among California League players in batting average (.360), doubles (7/tie), and runs (18/tie), and  is tied for 7th in RBIs (13).
  6. Research by Jewish Baseball News contributor Jack W. shows just how good today’s Jewish MLB stars are. Milwaukee Brewers RF Ryan Braun has the second-best career fielding percentage among left fielders since the statistic debuted in 1954. Among active players, the N.L.’s reigning Most Valuable Player ranks 1st in fielding percentage, 4th in slugging percentage, 9th in OPS (slugging percentage plus on-base percentage), and 10th in batting average. Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler ranks 1st among active second basemen in range factor per game and ranks 6th in career stolen-base percentage of any player since 1951. Boston Red Sox 3B/1B Kevin Youkilis ranks 2nd among active first basemen in career fielding percentage and 13th among all active players in career on-base percentage.
  7. Youkilis is no slouch when it comes to recognizability, but he recently married into New England royalty when he wed the sister of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Does that make him Julie Brady’s Giselle Bundchen? If you’ve ever seen Youk’s mug, you’d know he was no supermodel. But definitely a super guy. No word whether a Rabbi presided over the ceremony, though we kind of doubt it.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Good news Monday

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Mondays can be tough on the soul. So have some smiles on us:

  • Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum is off to another good start this season. A starting pitcher with the Harrisburg Senators (AA), the 24-year-old lefty is 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA. Not bad, even for a player whose worst season ERA so far was 2.52, in 2011. And check this out: through three starts in 2012, Rosenbaum has struck out 16 but walked none.
  • Our friends at Kaplan’s Korner recently posted this list of Jewish baseball records that may soon fall. A neat example: with a lifetime batting average of .312, Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun is just one percentage point behind career leader Hank Greenberg.
  • By his senior year in college, Garrett Wittels had experienced the polar opposites of media fame and infamy. A 56-game hitting streak during his junior year at Florida International University brought him international attention, but so too did a subsequent rape arrest. Although the charge eventually was dropped and his accusers exposed as profiteers, the story did a number on the infielder’s reputation, baseball prospects (he went undrafted), and confidence. Now a 21-year-old St. Louis Cardinals prospect, Wittels is struggling to prop his 2012 batting average above .200. But ESPN The Magazine’s detailed account of his inner and outer trials reveals a deeply spiritual young man who deserves a second chance.
  • Nothing goes together better than Jews and rugby, which is why the Boston Maccabi Rugby Football Club is so intriguing. I mean, how many rugby teams out there profess “an abiding commitment to the timeless Jewish values of tikkun olam and tzedakah “?
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — More than 50 Jewish athletes played minor-league baseball in 2011, and Jewish Baseball News has identified the very best.

Here is our 2011 list of the top Jewish minor-leaguers:

Lenny Linsky, P
Winner: Best rookie pitcher
Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
Hudson Valley Renegages (A-short season)
Franchise: Tampa Bay Rays

 A 21-year-old in his first pro season, Linsky was 3-0 with 3 saves, a 1.23 ERA, 30 strikeouts, and just 7 walks in 29-and-1/3 innings. He held opposing batters to a .204 batting average.

Max Perlman, P
Runner-up: Best rookie pitcher
Sacramento River Cats (AAA)
AZL Athletics (Rookie)
Franchise: Oakland Athletics

Perlman’s story is among the season’s most interesting. Selected by Oakland in the 35th round of the 2011 amateur draft, the 23-year-old played just 13 games of rookie-league ball before the franchise’s AAA squad called him up. In his first AAA start, Perlman gave up only a single and a walk in five innings. For the season he went a combined 3-2 with a 2.63 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 13 walks, and an opposing-batter average of .187.

Nick Rickles, C
Winner: Best rookie batter
Vermont Lake Monsters (A-short season)
AZL Athletics (Rookie)
Franchise: Oakland Athletics

The 21-year-old rookie hit .310 this season with 2 HRs, 11 doubles, 2 triples, and 35 RBIs in 168 at-bats. Rickles had an on-base percentage of .370 and stole 6 bases in 7 attempts.

Zach Borenstein, LF
Runner-up: Best rookie batter
AZL Angels (rookie league)
Franchise: Los Angeles Angels

A first-year pro, Borenstein accomplished a lot in just 113 at-bats, hitting 2 HRs, 4 triples, 6 doubles, and driving in 21 runs. Although the 21-year-old hit a relatively modest .274, he hit .315 with runners in scoring position and had an on-base percentage of .397. Borenstein also stole an impressive 12 bases in 13 tries.

Charlie Cutler, C
Winner: Comeback player
Springfield Cardinals (AA)
Franchise: St. Louis Cardinals

Cutler fared so poorly with the Springfield Cardinals early last season that the franchise demoted him. His bad luck continued into the 2011 season, with injuries keeping him out of action much of the first several months. But the 25-year-old returned with a vengeance, ending the year with a team-high .333 average as well as 5 HRs, 34 RBIs, and a .404 average with runners in scoring position.

Danny Rosenbaum, P
Winner: Best starting pitcher
Potomac Nationals (A)
Harrisburg Senators (AA)
Franchise: Washington Nationals

Rosenbaum amassed a 9-6 record and a 2.52 ERA while striking out 135 batters and walking 52. The 23-year-old was particularly effective against lefties, whom he held scoreless across 10-and-2/3 innings.

Brett Lorin, P
Runner-up: Best starting pitcher
Bradenton Marauders (A-advanced)
Franchise: Pittsburgh Pirates

Lorin finished the year with a 2.84 ERA, 99 strikeouts, and just 19 walks. Though thin run support left him with a middling 7-6 record, the 24-year-old went 5-2 during the season’s second half and held opposing teams to a .230 batting average.

Michael Schwimer, P
Winner: Best reliever
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA)
Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies

One of three Jewish minor-leaguers to reach the Majors this year, Schwimer baffled AAA batters, going 9-1 with 10 saves and a 1.85 ERA. The 25-year-old averaged 1.25 strikeouts per inning versus just 0.32 walks.

Jeff Urlaub, P
Runner-up: Best reliever
Burlington Bees (A)
Vermont Lake Monsters (A-short season)
Franchise: Oakland A’s

Urlaub finished the 2011 season with a 4-3 record, 5 saves, and a 2.41 ERA. The 24-year-old held opposing teams to a .217 batting average and struck out 7 times as many batters as he walked.

Ryan Lavarnway, C
Winner: Most Valuable Player
Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
Franchise: Boston Red Sox

One of three Jewish minor-leaguers to reach the Majors this year, Lavarnway had career highs in batting average (.290) and HRs (32) while driving in 93 runs. The 24-year-old’s combination of plate discipline and power resulted in a .376 on-base percentage and .563 slugging percentage.

Josh Satin, 2B
Runner-up: Most valuable player
Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
Binghamton Mets (AA)
Franchise: New York Mets

One of three Jewish minor-leaguers to reach the Majors this season, Satin hit a career-high .323 with 12 HRs, 43 doubles, 2 triples, and 76 RBIs. The 26-year-old struck out 124 times but also drew 71 walks, giving him a .411 on-base percentage.

Nate Freiman, 1B
Honorable mention: Most Valuable Player
Lake Elsinore Storm (A-advanced)
Franchise: San Diego Padres

In his third year as a pro, Freiman batted .288 and led the Storm with 22 HRs and 111 RBIs. The 24-year-old’s RBI total was third-highest in the California League.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — How are Jewish players doing in the minor-league playoffs? Here is an overview, starting with players whose teams are still in the mix, and followed by those already celebrating victory or recently ousted.

Fighting for a championship

The Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) are fighting for the International League (AAA) championship, and 2B Jason Kipnis is doing his best to help. Called up Tuesday (9/14/2010) from the “AA” Akron Aeros, the 23-year-old contributed immediately, going 2/4 with a walk and 3 runs scored in an 18-5, Game 1 victory over the Durham Bulls.

The Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) lost Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) championship series to the Tacoma Rainiers, 5-3. Memphis CF James Rapoport went 1/5 with a double in the loss. During a 1st-round sweep of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, he went a combined 7/11 with 2 RBIs, 2 walks and a stolen base.

Each of the two teams battling for the Carolina League (A-advanced) championship features a Jewish pitcher. In fact, one opened Game 1, while the other opened Game 2:

  • In Game 1 of the series (9/14/2010), SP Danny Rosenbaum of the Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals) gave up 6 hits and 1 earned run over 4 and 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash. Rosenbaum had a disastrous start earlier in the playoffs, giving up 7 earned runs over one inning in a 10-9 loss to the Frederick Keys (9/8/2010). (The Keys’ starter that night did slightly worse, giving up 8 runs, 6 of them earned, in just 2/3 of an inning.)
  • In Game 2 of the series (9/14/2010), SP Dylan Axelrod of the Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox) pitched well in a 5-3 loss to  Potomac, allowing two runs on just 3 hits and 1 walk over 7 innings while striking out 5. The defeat evened the series at 1-1. Earlier in the playoffs, Axelrod led Winston-Salem to a 2-0 victory over the Kinston Indians, allowing just two hits and 1 walk over 7 innings, while striking out 9 and retiring 19 batters in a row.

The Midwest League (A) championship series features yet another match-up between Jewish pitchers:

  • The Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) will open Game 1 of the series tonight (9/15/2010) with rookie Jason Knapp on the mound. The 20-year-old phenom was dominant in his only other playoff game, a 3-2 win over the West Michigan WhiteCaps (9/10/2010). In that game, Knapp gave up just two infield hits over 5 innings while striking out six and walking one.
  • Jason Markovitz will serve a relief role for the Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners). So far he has pitched one scoreless inning in the playoffs.

The Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) are tied 1-1 with the Greenville Drive in the South Atlantic League (A) championship series. BlueClaws RP Josh Zeid pitched 3 perfect innings and struck out 4 en route to a 6-1 win in Game 2 (9/14/2010). In an earlier playoff series against the Hickory Crawdads, the 23-year-old pitched a scoreless inning in a 7-0 victory (9/8/2010), and then hit and walked the only 2 batters he faced in a 2-1 loss to the Crawdads (9/10/2010).

Two Jews are playing for the Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers) for the Pioneer League (Rookie) championship, a 3-game series currently led 1-0 by the Orem Owlz:

  • SS Jake Lemmerman went 1/3 and drew a walk in the Raptors’ Game 1 loss to the Owlz, 3-2. The top Jewish pick in the 2010 draft (5th round, 172nd overall), Lemmerman is batting .231 in the playoffs but has a .444 on-base percentage and has scored 5 runs, tied for tops in the Pioneer League playoffs.
  • In two separate playoff appearances, including Tuesday’s loss, RP Andrew Pevsner struck out the only batter he faced. In a third outing he faced three batters and gave up a double, and was charged with an earned run when the next pitcher gave up a home run. Pevsner’s ERA for the playoffs is 6.75.

Already celebrating

The Tri-City Valley Cats (Houston Astros) swept the New York-Penn League (A-short season) championship over the Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets). One of the stars was Valley Cats IF Ben Orloff, who led the team with a .333 batting average in the playoffs and recently was named its 2010 Most Valuable Player. In Tuesday’s 5-2 finale (9/14/2010), Orloff went 2/5 and drove in a run.

Out of the running

Two Jewish players made it to the 1st round of the Texas League (AA) playoffs:

  • In his only playoff appearance, Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) SP David Kopp pitched 5 and 1/3 innings in a loss to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals), giving up 5 hits and 2 earned runs. Springfield lost the series 3-2. Cardinals C Charlie Cutler did not play.
  • SP Richard Bleier of the Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers) pitched 5 and 2/3 innings in a series-opening loss to the Midland RockHounds, giving up 3 earned runs on 7 hits. Midland won the series 3-1.

Two Jewish players made it to the 1st round of the Midwest League (A) playoffs:

  • 1B Nate Freiman of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) went 4/9 (.444) with 2 RBIs and drew 5 walks, raising his on-base percentage to .643. Fort Wayne lost the series 2-1 to the Great Lakes Loons.
  • 1B Casey Haerther of the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels) went 1/12 (.083) and struck out six times; his only hit was a double. Cedar Rapids lost the series 2-1 to the Clinton LumberKings.
  • RP Jason Novak of the Quad Cities River Bandits (St. Louis Cardinals) was on the disabled list and did not play.

We’ll keep you posted on the playoff picture.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Friday (9/3/2010):

  • 3B Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins went 2/3 and hit a key single in a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers. Shortly after hitting his second single of the night, the 25-year-old rookie left the game due to tightness in his right hamstring, but the pinch-runner who replaced him eventually scored to tie the game, 3-3. Valencia is batting a blistering .343 since being called up from the minors in June.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway of the “AA” Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) hit a 2-run single, drew an intentional walk and scored the winning run in a 7-4 victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Cats had good reason to walk Lavarnway: in a season split between Portland and the “A-Advanced” Salem Red Sox, he’s batting a combined .289 with 22 HRs and 98 RBIs.
  • SP David Kopp of the “AA” Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals) gave up one run over 6 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Tulsa Drillers. Kopp left the game with a 2-1 lead, but the Drillers scored 3 in the 8th to win it. The 24-year-old Clemson recruit allowed 7 hits and no walks while striking out five. He was 0-5 during a stretch in “AAA” this season but is 12-4 with Springfield, where he has a trim 3.05 ERA.
  • RF David Rubinstein of the “A” West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) went 2/4 with a single, double and run scored in a 6-5 loss to the Hagerstown Suns. An 11th-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft, Rubinstein leads the Power in doubles (36/tie), ranks 2nd  in batting average (.288) and stolen bases (22), and is 4th in on-base percentage (.348) and slugging percentage (.410).
  • SP Daniel Rosenbaum of the “A+” Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals) gave up just four hits and walked none in a 5-0 win over the Salem Red Sox. His “overpowering” performance, which included four strikeouts, moved the Nationals within one game of clinching a spot in the Carolina League playoffs. A 22nd-round pick in the 2009 amateur draft, Rosenbaum is 3-2 with a 2.09 ERA and 115 strikeouts for the Nationals. In a stint earlier this season with the “A” Hagerstown Suns, he was 2-5 with a 2.32 ERA.

And now, your Jewish Star of the Day:

  • 1B Nate Freiman of the “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres) went a combined 7/7 with 3 doubles and 3 RBIs as the TinCaps split a double-header with the South Bend Silver Hawks. A 6’7″ recruit from Duke University, Freiman is batting .298 with 14 HRs, 82 RBIs, an on-base percentage of .373 and a .461 slugging percentage. According to this article, his 41 doubles this season are a franchise record.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your Players of the Day for Monday (8/23/2010):

Two “AAA” players went head-to-head…

  • As expected, the Chicago Cubs sent OF Sam Fuld back down to “AAA” on Monday to make room for 1B Micah Hoffpauir, but Fuld made the best of it. The 28-year-old stroked a pinch-hit triple in the 7th inning to start a rally against the Nashville Sounds. Chicago had promoted Fuld to fill a roster vacancy created when 1B Derrek Lee was traded to the Atlanta Braves. During his three-game stint in the bigs, Fuld, a defensive specialist, went 0/2.
  • Thanks in part to LF Adam Stern, the “AAA” Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) defeated the Iowa Cubs 8-6. The 30-year-old Canadian went 2/4 with a walk and two runs scored, raising his batting average to .322, second highest on the team. Like Fuld, Stern had a brief stint in this majors this season, going 0/8.

In other minor-league news…

  • SP Daniel Rosenbaum of the “A+” Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals) pitched masterfully against the Wilmington Blue Hooks, giving up just one hit (a solo HR) and one walk over 6 innings while striking out four. The 22-year-old Xavier University recruit left the game with the Nationals ahead 3-1, but his relievers couldn’t hold the lead, and the Nationals fell 6-3. In a season split between the Nationals and the “A” Hagerstown Suns, Rosenbaum is a combined 4-7 with 107 strikeouts, 38 walks and a 2.34 ERA.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway of the “AA” Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) went 2/4 with a double, a HR and a walk in a 10-5 victory over the Harrison Senators. In a season split between the Sea Dogs and the “A+” Salem Red Sox, Lavarnway is batting a combined .284 with 18 HRs, 87 RBIs, a .383 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage. Over his past 10 games he is batting .361 with a .465 on-base percentage and .611 slugging percentage.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Midway through the 2010 season, Jewish minor leaguers are performing well. The 20 Jewish pitchers have a collective won-loss record of 59-52, a 3.85 ERA and a 2.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio through games played July 14. The 28 position players have a combined batting average of .274 and a walk-to-strikeout ratio of .503, according to Jewish Baseball News calculations.

A list of category leaders and laggards is shown below. But first, a few clarifications:

  • Players marked with an asterisk have played in two or more leagues this season, and the statistics shown reflect their collective performance across all leagues. The team shown is the players’ current one.
  • Calling David Kopp the winningest pitcher is slightly misleading. Kopp assembled an 8-1 record and 3.08 ERA with the “AA” Springfield Cardinals before being called up to the “AAA” Memphis Redbirds. In his first four games in Memphis, Kopp went 0-4 with a 7.53 ERA.
  • Jake Lemmerman, a shortstop from Duke University and the top Jewish pick in the 2010 amateur draft, is tearing up the Rookie Pioneer League. Through 20 games with the Ogden Raptors, Lemmerman was batting .358 and had a .506 slugging percentage.

Now, your category leaders.

Position players

  • Highest batting average(100+ at-bats) : Casey Haerther, “A” Cedar Rapids Kernels (.319)
  • Lowest batting average (100+ at-bats) : Jake Wald, “AA”  Mobile BayBears (.175)
  • Most home runs: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (14)
  • Most triples: Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (4)
  • Most doubles: Nathan Freiman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (29)
  • Most RBIs: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (63)
  • Most walks: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (44)
  • Most strikeouts: Nathan Frieman, “A” Fort Wayne TinCaps (76)
  • Best walk/strikeout ratio: Sam Fuld, “AAA” Iowa Cubs (1.25)
  • Worst walk/strikeout ratio: David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (.31)
  • Highest on-base percentage: Joshua Satin, “AA” Binghamton Mets (.403)
  • Highest slugging percentage: Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (.487)
  • Highest OPS (OBP+slugging): Ryan Lavarnway, “A+” Salem Red Sox (.879)
  • Most stolen bases: David Rubinstein, “A” West Virginia Power (13)

Pitchers

  • Most victories: David Kopp*, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (8)
  • Most losses: Jason Hirsh, “AAA” Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees; Richard Bleier, “AA” Frisco RoughRiders (6)
  • Best win-loss record: Michael Schlact*, “A+” Bakersfield Blaze (3-0)
  • Best ERA (at least 25 innings): Dylan Axelrod*, “A+” Birmingham Barons (2.367); Daniel Rosenbaum, “A” Hagertown Suns (2.363)
  • Worst ERA (at least 25 innings): Scot Drucker, “AAA” Toledo Mud Hens (5.56)
  • Most strikeouts: Daniel Rosenbaum, “A” Hagertown Suns (85)
  • Most walks: Aaron Poreda*, “AAA” Portland Beavers; Eric Berger, “AA” Akron Aeros; David Kopp*, “AAA” Memphis Redbirds (39)
  • Best strikeout/walk ratio (20+ innings): Dylan Axelrod*, “A” Birmingham Barons (5.2)
  • Worst strikeout/walk ratio (20+ innings): Aaron Poreda*, “AAA” Portland Beavers (0.9)

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